Friday, February 22, 1980 in Lake Placid, New York:
The games of the XIII Olympiad were in full swing. The United States and the Soviet Union were at continued odds over the Cold War and tensions would eventually lead to the American’s boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, Russia. A truly amateur team took to the ice wearing “USA” across their chest. They overcame hardships and in-fighting from collegiate rivalries to become a cohesive team.
Goal-Jim Craig and Steve Janaszac
Coach- Herb Brooks
They weren’t supposed to win. They weren’t even supposed to do well at all. They were mercilessly defeated 10-3, by the Soviets, just a few days before the opening ceremony. The pressure was on Coach Brooks from the start. He didn’t do things the way they had always been done; he also didn’t get what the USA had always gotten. The process was a battle and together the team became a family. The buildup to the game between the USA and the Soviet Union was more than just a game, or a meeting of rivals. It was political and it was two ways of life that were colliding on a grand stage. The game was not televised in the USA. Only those Americans living near the Canadian border who were able to pick up Canadian television were able to see the event live. Historically, we know the Americans prevailed and went on to claim the gold medal after defeating Team Finland. The Soviets had claimed gold in each of the previous four Olympics. They were so stunned at the loss, they clearly didn’t know what to do with themselves.
Three of our New York Rangers are in Sochi making this run with Team USA; Ryan McDonagh, Ryan Callahan, and Derek Stepan. After the 1980 games, Pavelich and Silk donned New York Ranger sweaters and assistant coach, Craig Patrick took his turn as a coach and a manager of the Rangers.
This year in Sochi, Russia, the Americans met the Russians in the preliminary stage of the tournament. The roster is one we know:
Forward- David Backes, Dustin Brown, Ryan Callahan, Patrick Kane, Ryan Kesler, Phil Kessel, T.J. Oshie, Max Pacioretty, Zach Parise, Joe Pavelski, Paul Stastny, Derek Stepan, James van Riemsdyk, and Blake Wheeler
Together, Team USA, has formed an early chemistry. Their ability to come together quickly has propelled them to a group win this year and a huge win over Russia. The inclusion of Ryan Suter this year is special in several ways. His father, Bob, was a member of the 1980 Olympic team. The Russian coach this year is Zinetula Bilyaletdinov; a defenseman from the 1980 Soviet team. In an interview with NBC, Bilyaletdinov made it clear that his team was under immense pressure. Through a translator he said that the men’s hockey gold is the only medal that matters in these games. The pressure is on and it was miserable for him after losing in 1980. This is his shot at redemption, while Suter looks to carry on family tradition. Now the Russians must wait to see their fate; which will be determined by Team Canada.
“No words, just pictures”